Blog Month: Two Years…Why?

October 4, 2010

This month, I’m marking an occasion I seriously did not think I’d reach.  I’ve been blogging for two years.

Seriously.  Maybe that’s no big thing to you, but doing something continually for two years is pretty big to me. 

The blog world has been great to me.  I’ve put a lot into blogging, but I really do think I’ve recieved more from this endeavor than I’ve put into it.  So this month, I want to give something back to blog land.  I’m scattering a selection of posts throughout October, all about one of our favorite pastimes as blog enthusiasts, meant to help, encourage and challenge you as bloggers and blog readers.

The first thing I have to do for Blog Month is to answer the question I think I’ve been asked, and have asked myself the most about blogging…

…Why?

Seriously.  Two years ago, I decided that three times a week, I’d write a blog.  Why on earth would I do that?

That’s really the hardest thing to communicate to non-blog people.  It’s like trying to get your girlfriend to play a non-Mario videogame.  Or like trying to get your man to help you pick coordinating window curtains.  To non-readers, the reaction is a lot of, “What’s the freaking point of this nonsense?” 

Them:  “So, do you make any money by doing this?” 

Me:  “Ummm…no…”

Them:  “Uh-huh…do you know any of the people who read this stuff you’re writing?”

Me:  “Well…in a way I do…but, no.”

Them:  “Can you tell me even one conceivable benefit to sharing your unimpressive personal life with complete and total strangers?”

Me:  “…Um…not off the top of my head…”

But really, whenever I’ve stumbled over this question, I’ve missed the completely obvious answer.  No, blogging probably won’t make you any money.  But neither does playing Magic the Gathering.  And blogging is at least less than half as nerdy as that.  So there.  But really, I think some non-blog-readers have the same perception as people who don’t play Magic, that blogging is a ridiculously nerdy waste of time where hopelessly introverted people sit at their computers in Mom’s basement, and give mundane details of their lives and whine about their lack of social skills, in between tending to Farmville.

On the contrary, blogging is probably the least nerdy part of my day.  Consider that my ordinary day to day agenda includes: solving the New York Times crossword in pen in under ten minutes, practicing my lightsaber moves with my homemade lightsaber, solemnly meditating on the meaning of Jack Bauer, reciting pi…all of it, and watching Oprah.

Nerdy or not, the huge benefit to blogging is…

…You.

Yep, you.  Yes, you there, sitting in your underwear, eating cheese puffs while you read this.  You, over there, pretending to work in your cubicle.  You are the reason I say I’ve gained more from blogging than I’ve put in.  As a teenage Christian, the number of Christians I knew equalled the number of Christians in my youth group.  My world was very small.  Now, I’ve become acquainted with Christians all over America and the world.  That’s amazing. 

What is fantastic about blogging is its communal nature.  I am constantly encouraged and challenged by all the comments and emails that are sent in.  Come to think of it, a majority of this blog belongs to you, the readers.  The posts I write are just a springboard for a huge conversation that dwarfs what I say, even if I’m the one talking first…and loudest…and most often…and sometimes most coherantly. 

I am really stunned at the variety of people I’ve come into contact with.  I’ve talked to authors, pastors, lay leaders, ordinary Christians, parents, missionaries, veterans, doubters, strugglers, people whose lives and perspectives I can’t possibly have predicted.  Against all my doubts, I have met many people who are smarter, more interesting, inspiring, and handsome than even me.

And it is nice every once in a while if you can meet some online contacts.  Just last Saturday, I got to make a trip to Pennsylvania to speak at a youth rally at Camp Harmony.  Those kids were really great to me, and my hosts were gracious, and I was there just because of this.  I really do think I recieved more from that event than I gave to those kids.  I hope I get to do a lot more of that kind of thing.

And in meeting so many people, I’ve realized something really important.

I Like People Watching

No one thinks they are very interesting.  People who act like they are interesting are just faking it to cover up their insecurities.  But I am fascinated by the stories of regular people.  I love it when I talk to someone who I know is much more interesting than me, and they make me feel like I am the genuinely interesting one, because I think I’m just about the least interesting guy on earth.  Everyone has a story to tell, and it’s a great one, whether it’s inspiring, funny, gritty or tragic.

You are the only person who is…well, you!  No one else can tell your story.   You may think it’s not worth telling (and not all of it is), but there’s got to be something in there that’s valuable to other people.  I genuinely anticipate hearing from you three times a week as much as I anticipate sharing with you what’s on my mind.

And that’s what blogging is all about, Charlie Brown.  Once you realize what your motivation is, it becomes really addicting.

I’ve got all kinds of good stuff saved up to tell you this month about meeting new blog readers, dealing with conflict and criticism, overcoming writer’s block (which I’ve had a lot of), and worshiping those ever-present blog idols we all have. 

Oh, and heads up right now.  I’ve got a really sweet author interview coming this Friday.  There will be books given away.  Maybe I’ll give you another clue about who it is on Wednesday.  Suffice it to say, you won’t want to miss it.

If you’re a blogger, or just read blogs, what value to you get out of it?  What keeps you coming back?  What makes you just have to leave that comment?  What do you tell people when they ask you what is the point of all this?  How long have you been a part of blog-land?

34 responses to Blog Month: Two Years…Why?

  1. Congratulations on making it to 2 years. Given how fast things come and go online that’s quite an achievement.

    Why do I keep blogging….. I find it can be helpful to put what I’m learning into writing. Sometimes to trying to get it into a written, concise and understandable form forces you to think about stuff harder than you otherwise would.

    I don’t get many comments so it is hard to know if what I write is having much impact. Still, it is exciting to know that what I’m writing has the potential to help someone I’ve never met in places I’ll probably never go.

    On a less serious note, I like being able to show off my photos and getting free books to review :p

  2. Congratulations on two years!

    I blog because most of the time, I need to write stuff out to understand it myself. I’m better at articulating my thoughts if I have a backspace key (or eraser). The process of bringing my thoughts out of my head and onto paper or computer screen organizes them, and makes them my own in a concrete way. I could jabber on for hours about something, and not come to any conclusion one way or another (just ask my wife), but when I write, I am forced to come to a conclusion, or at the very least, admit that I don’t know and am wrestling with it.

    That’s why I blog, and that’s why I’ll continue blogging, or at least writing in some form or another.

    Keep up the honesty!!

    jj

  3. My first blog was 2/20/08 so I am coming on 3 years. I hit 1000 several months ago. i started blogging after reading several different ones for a month or so. It sounded like fun and so I started. Why do I do it? Hmmm…good question. I have been accused by a disgruntled man who eventually left the church (oh rats!)..and I quote: “About your blog. I have never read your blog and I have no intention of ever reading it (he lost me by this time) BUT people have told me that it appears you are trying to seek ways to go around the leadership to support your own agenda.” Say what? Do an end-run around the elders? I had not had one leader EVER say that to me or even feel that way. So…he was wrong. I blog because I enjoy it. I like expressing myself. I like the discussion that ensues-pro and con. I like learning and the interchange of ideas. Plus…I am a pastor and I have to have something to say. Know what I mean? :)

    Congrats on your 2 years Matt. Enjoy reading yours with your off-the-cuff (some might say strange) tongue-in-cheek humor. Hope you have good days ahead.

  4. Congratulations on such a milestone! Gosh, why do I blog? Because not enough paying publishers recognized my brilliance? Honestly, that’s part of it. I felt I had some stories to tell and as a writer, it’s pretty discouraging to get one acceptance for every 20 rejections. Blogging is what keeps me plugging away. I receive constructive feedback, encouragement and a network of fellow writers which helps me to persevere.

  5. If you’re a blogger, or just read blogs, what value to you get out of it?

    It’s just refreshing to read a post – not an article or a book. There is a magic to blend the humor, the thoughtfulness, and the sort of unfinished business the ends with a question.

    What keeps you coming back? I do it instead of working.

    What makes you just have to leave that comment? It’s a chance to say things that matter to me. If I had more friends to hang out with, I would blog less.

    What do you tell people when they ask you what is the point of all this? Same as above – if I had more time with flesh and blood Christians, it would matter less.

    How long have you been a part of blog-land?
    About 5 years.

    Congratulations, Matt! You are one of my favorite writers – I look forward to every post. It’s exciting to see how you’ve grown from lame to fame!

    And thanks again for your guest post on Fire & Grace. It went up this morning.

    http://www.fireandgrace.com

  6. I love your posts because the are just plain real. No fluff and just the right amount of Christian snark. I leave comments when you hit the nail on the head (often) and I blog because I can, and sometimes I just can’t.

  7. I blog because I like to make people think and laugh. I also blog to give hope, sharing things that I think need to be shared.

    Coincidentally, that is also why I read the blogs I read… this being one of them.

    Feliz cumpleanos!

  8. I’m so impressed that you started with a schedule and stuck to it. I’ve been blogging about 18 months and there are times, like now, when I do well to write one post a week. There were a couple of months soon after I started when I didn’t post at all.

    Why do I blog? In the beginning, it had a lot to do with helping people understand singles in the church. It has evolved into sharing more of myself in general, and following the blogs of my readers so I learn more about them, too. While my posts make my faith clear, I have a few readers who don’t share my faith, but they keep coming back. In that way, it’s become a way of witnessing for me, which is a bigger deal than it sounds since I’m someone who breaks out in a sweat at the thought of evangelizing.

    I have been amazed by the community aspect of blogging. I have a friend who took up blogging after I did, and we both follow some of the same blogs, and share some of the same readers, as well. It’s fun to see her comment right above mine on another blog, or have one her readers check out my page. Suddenly the world is a whole lot smaller.

  9. Hey. It’s doritos, thank you very much.

    I actually made a commitment to blog every day for a year. I think I’m in day 125 or something. I actually did it bc I knew it would improve my writing and help me connect with more folks online . Not a whole lot of people actually read my blog, but its been fun anyway!

  10. Because it clears my head…and sometimes centers my heart..

    thanks Matt, have a good week.

  11. I blog because it’s there.

    Or because I like it.

    I’ll probably stop when I don’t like it anymore…

  12. If I read nothing else online all day, I still find time to keep up on your posts. Sometimes you raise issues I haven’t considered, other times you talk about things I’m already wrestling with. Either way, you make me think–and smile at the same time, and I love that.

    I started my Compost blog because I wanted to give my kids unsolicited advice. Pretty sneaky, huh? Then I found out it forced me to stay in tune with God, and that was way more important!

    I started my other blog (www.Mountain-Plover.com) because I was constantly being asked questions about gardening and birding, and I realized I had something to share.

    I’d love more comments on either, not for the pat on the back, but because I love hearing what others are thinking. Maybe I need more Matt-style snarky humor? 😎

  13. No, there’s no money in blogging, for me, anyway. But I’ve been introduced to some amazing, funny, wonderful people online and I’ve discovered gifts that I either never knew I had or had completely forgotten about.

    And since I think I was probably one of your first readers, may I be so old fashioned to say, I’m very proud of you, Matt.

  14. I proud to say I’ve been with you since the beginning. Of course, the same is true for you and Tony C Today.

    I don’t always comment, but I do always enjoy your post with your style of blending theology with humor. I also get a lot of questions when I wear my TCONP t-shirt, and the 2-year old thinks the button is her only piece if fine jewelry.

    Glad you’ve stuck with it and grown Matt. God has blessed me with our online friendship.

  15. hey i spoke at Camp Harmony too! good peoples. and congrats on the milestone!

  16. Congrats on the Blogiversary, man. :) Look forward to seeing what Year 3 brings to the table. :)

  17. Hey Matt,
    Just wanted to say thanks for coming to Camp Harmony this weekend. It was great having you and we’ll definately have to do it again sometime.

  18. I didn’t remember that we started about the same time. I started in October too. I’m with you, it’s the connections and people and conversations that make it worth while. Thanks Matt. I always enjoy and appreciate your posts.

  19. Congratulations on reaching this milepost! My second anniversary is on October 15. Why do I blog? I am trying to cover up my insecurities by pretending I am interesting. Besides, I like to write.

    The greater fun is reading after the people I have “met” in the blogosphere. Thank you, Matt, for your part in this.

  20. Congrats on two years! I don’t do it for the money, but for the fame. Obviously…

    Okay, seriously, it’s because I’ve met great people on line and this is where we talk to each other.

  21. I’ve been blogging for about 3 years…it started because a friend suggested that I do it, and the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me. Particularly because my mom was, at the time, very sick with cancer and traveling to see my kids wasn’t an option as often as any of us would have liked. It was a way for me to document little things for her to see about our everyday life. And, then, when she passed away 2 years ago, it was a safe place to write about how I was feeling.

    I realized somewhere along the line that I actually LIKE to write when it’s not for a grade. I guess that’s really why I’ve kept at it…that, and I don’t scrapbook, so this is a record of my boys’ lives.

    I love the little community that has developed as a result of blogging! I have 2 friends that I’d really love to meet, and our only connection is our blogs.

    Happy blog-o-versary! I always look forward to your posts.

  22. I’ve always said that I blog because I’m incredibly self-absorbed. And really, that IS part of it, I guess. Probably part of why I play music as well. It’s nice to see something that you’ve created have a place.

    But beyond that, I love the community that I’ve found in blogging. I’ve met some really incredible people online, and part of that has come through the blogosphere. My world is fairly small and monochromatic, and blogging has helped embiggen that world.

    I’ve been blogging since November 2005. So a long time.

    And I comment because I know that I like comments and I assume that I’m not alone on that one. I try only to comment if I actually have something to say (so more than a “me too!” or “preach it!” kind of comment), but being a chatty kinda’ gal, I generally have SOMETHING to say.

    Congratulations on the landmark. That’s awesome!

  23. HOW DID YOU KNOW I WASN’T REALLY WORKING IN MY CUBICLE! scary.

    I recently joined the blog-scape, but have always read them. I like hearing what common people believe about issues. Self-help books and devotionals by paid professionals are good, but I would rather hear what the guy who goes through the run-of-the-mill, day-to-day, paycheck-to-paycheck (can’t think of any mroe hyphenated phrases to inculde here) thinks and LIVES OUT!

    I am not saying people who write devotionals and books full-time don’t go through what I do, but their writing tends to be more formal, and thats fine. I relate to more open, informal styles.

    I started blogging recently as a way to express thoughts that I have stored up from time-to-time almost as a journal. One year ago, my world fell apart. Everything changed. I “fell.” And now my family and I are dealing with the fallout of the disaster that I caused. Not Satan…Me.

    Thus, the name Lazarus. (you can read more on my blog.)

    Thank you for blogging. I know I get encouragement from it. Here’s to many more years!

  24. Technically, my blog has been around since 2004, when I created it, posted a few times, then left it alone for 18 months to grow its own posts from the seeds I had planted. When I figured out it doesn’t work that way, I got back to blogging with some regularity in 2006, but have only realised in the past 5 or so months how much I really need this space to unload my brain upon an unsuspecting world.

    It’s funny that you say that most of us don’t think we are interesting, because I generally think on the scale of “interesting” that I rank below cute turtles and just above watching grass grow. And yet, I keep finding things to yammer about. Funny, that. :)

    Congrats on your Blogversary. Now you have me wondering when mine is .

  25. Congrats Matt! That is seriously awesome!

    To answer your questions, I blog just to relate my experiences. I’ve been through a lot of thing and I feel like the Lord has taught me a lot of lessons (mostly the hard way) and I find blogging as a catharsis.

    I’ve done it on and off (very infrequently) since 2002 but I started writing consistently just a few months ago. There’s nothing better!

  26. Hi Matt,
    Why do I blog? Because I owe a debt to Dracula.

    As a kid I read Bram Stoker’s great novel which is structured as a collection of diaries and journals. The very idea that keeping a record of ordinary, daily life might lead to some great adventure captured my fancy.

    So back in the 1950s I began keeping a daily journal–just in case I needed to fight a vampire or something. Off and on ever since then I have kept a daily journal just trying to make sense of my own life. (It still doesn’t make sense, but journaling is a habit now that I’m 71 years old).

    About five or six years ago, one of my Geek children introduced me to the blog as a medium for keeping my journal so I just transferred over from pen and ink to typing on air on the internet.

    Many or my (more or less daily) postings are directed to The Kid In The Attic, an imaginary boy living a hundred years from now who finds a copy of my dusty old diary in some attic on a rainy day. I want him to catch a glimpse of the Christian life as she is lived by a common, ordinary, garden variety Christian who sprouts in the manure around him. I hope the Kid In The Attic turns out better than I have.

    Since I began putting my life online, I find constraints of common decency compel me to tone down the language and events I record from the way I wrote before when people were not reading over my shoulder.

    Hardly anybody ever comments on my postings; I suppose they have lives or their own to lead and mine doesn’t matter all that much to them… Hummm, maybe if I fought a real live vampire folks would notice.

    Never even seen one. Stoker mislead me.

    Saw one of those de-motivotional posters that said: Blogging! Now you can show the whole world why nobody listens to you.

  27. Congrats on 2 years.

    I started my blog with many of the same non intentions you mentioned. In the since the blog started, however, I have seen great value in it. The blog has created opportunity to share in great conversations about life and faith, and even sports!

    Now, I don’t know what I’d do without the site. Maybe that’s a bad thing, but I think it speaks to the positive relational experience it has brought.

    God be with you as you continue blogging.

    Stay blessed…john

  28. Well, I don’t blog. But I do read blogs, and just love getting to know other Christians through reading their thoughts. I also love (mostly) the challenges that might be thrown out, which make me think about what I believe and why, and maybe change my thinking.

  29. Congratulations on achieving two years of blogging. I started blogging to keep my extended family involved in my family’s life. At that time, we were separated by less than 500 miles from grandparents/cousins/aunts&uncles. Now, it is more like a semi-public diary.

  30. I’ve been part of blogland for a little over a year. What makes me keep blogging? I’ve seen the number of people around the world that read the blog and that humbles me. It also pushes me to glorify God even more, to thank Him for this opportunity to be able to share His word.

    People’s lives are changed. And it is amazing to be used by God in that way. Also pretty amazing, I met my wife through my blog last year!

  31. Just one point of disagreement. You can make a living blogging. Lots of people do it. In fact ProBlogger bought his house doing it.